44 Million Reasons to Expand Scope of Practice

Forty-four million Americans, or 13% of the total population, now live in a county in the United States that is undergoing a primary care physician shortage, according to a new report from UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation’s largest insurers.

When considering the findings of the report, entitled Addressing the Nation’s Primary Care Shortage: Advanced Practice Clinicians and Innovative Care Delivery Models, expanding scope of practice laws in the 28 states still restricting NPs from full practice authority is one clear answer to the shortage, which is only expected to get worse over time.

As cited in the report, the U.S. population is expected to increase 8%, from 328 million to 355 million, by 2030. Meanwhile, the number of primary care physicians is expected to only increase 6% from 288,000 to 306,000 by 2025, leaving a significant gap in care that could be filled by the scores of NPs practicing primary care, which will increase 47% from 204,000 to 299,000 during the same time.

By removing barriers to practice and allowing NPs to practice at the full capacity of their training and education, the report finds that the number of U.S. residents living in a county with a primary care shortage would decline 70%, from 44 million to less than 13 million.

To read the full findings of the report, please click here.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.